Officials have the core services of a Child Advocacy Center in Mankato up and running, but are aiming to open a stable facility at the Mayo Eastridge Clinic in October or November that will enhance services.
The Clinic recently underwent a remodel and has donated three rooms to the Advocacy Center, according to Blue Earth County Attorney Pat McDermott.
“We’re hopeful that maybe we’ll outgrow that space within a few years because there’s other things that you can do. Whether it’s child neglect, whether it is that aging population. You know, the state demographer will say the age of somebody 85 and older in Blue Earth County by 2035 will double, the age of the population between 65 and 85 will more than double. That’s going to be a shift in services, you get into the financial abuse, you get into the elder abuse.”
But initially, McDermott says the main focus will be to treat children who are victims of child abuse and make sure services are available to address issues.
“In prosecution, law enforcement, in human services, for years we’ve been conditioned and trained to respond to an event. But the idea behind the Child Advocacy Center is those wraparound services. The adverse childhood experiences studies would show you. let’s talk about some of this prevention. They are making decisions in these areas that you can’t see the manifestation. But if you don’t deal with these issues adequately at the time, from the mental health standpoint, society will pay down the road.”
The Child Advocacy Center received a kick-start to get up and running by the way of a 165-thousand dollar grant from the Minnesota Office of Justice programs.
McDermott adds that long-term, the intention is to turn the advocacy center into a standalone non-profit.
State data shows Child Advocacy Centers provide services to more than 25-hundred children a year.